Environmental Teshuva – a Sustainable Frame of Mind

We are in a global environmental crisis.
Jewish tradition compels us to respond.


Now more than ever, we must stand up and asses the role that our actions play in creating the world we live in. We are called to make a change, to create a healthier and more sustainable world for all.

What is teshuva?

Teshuva or “return” is a Jewish practice of turning inward and reflecting on the transgressions we make as human beings while acknowledging that what was done in the past does not have to be repeated in our future. The practice of teshuva offers us an opportunity to face our negative actions and create a new path forward.

Traditionally, we practice teshuva from the first day of the Hebrew month of Elul through the last day of Sukkot reflecting on how we can strive to be our best selves in the coming year. But Elul is not the only time we can embrace this practice.

What is environmental teshuva?

Environmental teshuva is the outward manifestation of our commitment to doing better for the planet. As you examine your individual impact on the planet, consider:

  • How do you relate to the planet or the climate crisis? What inspires you from the natural world?
  • Which of your behaviors do you know are less than ideal? Consider the implications of your diet and transportation habits.
  • What are one or two areas in which you will commit to do better?

In April 2020, over 1,000 people around the world joined #SoundTheCall, an effort to awaken the world to the need for #EnvironmentalTeshuva. Watch the video.

Take a Stand – Environmental Advocacy

We believe powerfully in the strength of individual and community action but we also acknowledge that addressing climate change requires action on many levels, including by advocating for Federal policies that protect our environment. At Hazon we strive to elevate the good work of partner organizations while also supporting important legislation that furthers the work we are so passionate about. We invite you to join us!

  • Sign up for our Action Alerts! Every few weeks Hazon staff gather the latest information about Federal agriculture policy and share it broadly with an invitation to take action. We believe that farmers are on the front line of climate change and supporting sustainable agriculture is one of the best ways to heal our planet. Email jofee@hazon.org to sign up! View previous Action Alerts.
  • Plant Powered Metro New York is a health empowerment effort, fueled primarily by volunteers, which is raising awareness about the power of whole food, plant-based nutrition to prevent, treat, and even reverse chronic illness. They teach about the science of plant-based diets as well as support people and institutions in making the transition to plant-based lifestyles and policies/culture.

We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast

by Jonathan Safran Foer

We enthusiastically encourage you to read We Are the Weather and share it with your friends, families, and communities. It is a superb, readable, and very Jewish explication of how, why and in what ways our food choices matter. Hazon created a discussion guide for Jewish communities to accompany the book, which you can download for free.

Interested in hosting a book group or program related to We Are the Weather, or anything at the intersection of Judaism, food, and climate? Contact Becky O’Brien, Hazon’s Director of Food & Climate, and download our WATW Discussion Guide for Jewish Communities.


The Brit Hazon

The Brit Hazon is our opportunity to make a personal commitment to do better – to take a stand and take action – as we manifest our vision of a more sustainable and equitable world for all.


Sermons and Divrei Torah

Hazon has collected sermons and d’vrei Torah that focus on Environmental Teshuva. Explore the ways that Jewish leaders across the country have engaged with Environmental Teshuva this holiday season on our Resources For Rabbis & Spiritual Leaders page.


Learn Where Your Food Comes From

Most people have some sense that food is central to Jewish life and Jewish tradition, but they’re far less aware that individual food choices are among the top anthropogenic drivers of climate change. Hazon has compiled these resources for you to make educated food choices.



What is JTree?
Hazon is proud to host the US site for JTree. JTree is an emerging international effort of Jewish organizations to mobilize Jewish people and Jewish communities around the world to plant trees as a response to the global climate crisis.
Learn more


Join Us!

Hazon Seal of Sustainability

The Hazon Seal of Sustainability provides guidance and support to advance sustainability-related education, action, and advocacy in your Jewish institution, organization, and community. Rooted in Jewish tradition, participation in the Hazon Seal program will, over time, make your community healthier and more sustainable, both Jewishly and environmentally!

JOFEE Programs

JOFEE Fellows and JOFEE educators around the world have been creating thoughtful curricula for engaging participants from young to old. See resources on Food and Climate or Environmental Justice.

For inspiration and reflections on our weekly parsha, be sure to check out the D’varim HaMakom blog – each week JOFEE Fellows reflect on how their environmental work relates to the weekly Torah portion. We recommend Light in the DarkBlessing Family and the Earth, and Korach: Disruptive Visionary or Disgruntled Rabble-Rouser.

For more information about JOFEE or to find a JOFEE organization in your area, visit JOFEE.org.

Support Hazon

Contribute to our movement to lead the Jewish community to a more sustainable future. Give a one-time gift or set up a sustaining donation as you are able to. Make a donation.